Monday, 7 March 2016

News from the AEU

Update on Victorian Curriculum


During 2016 schools can choose to use either the new Victorian Curriculum F-10 or the AusVELS curriculum. Schools will report against whichever curriculum they are using. 


From 2017 all schools will be required to implement the Victorian Curriculum.  Full implementation will take place over the period 2017-19.


The Government has provided $21.6 million over three years to support government schools and teachers to transition to and implement the new Victorian Curriculum. The funding will cover a half day CRT for each government school teacher which will be available in the second half of this year.


There will be range of online and face-to-face professional learning support.


Beginning this term, the VCAA is running half day workshops for school leaders to assist school planning. Participants will be provided with planning tools, templates etc.


The VCAA has put up a "Hints and Tips" page to assist schools with planning the implementation.


During January 2016 the VCAA ran three online professional learning sessions about the new Victorian Curriculum F-10.  The presentation used in these sessions is available here. (Please scroll down to Past Professional Learning Sessions).


A range of VCAA online resources for the Victorian Curriculum are also available here.


Specialist Teacher Support


Specialist teachers will support schools across the state by providing advice, developing resources and facilitating professional learning programs in the following 10 areas: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics); Digital coding; Learning about religions and world views; Critical thinking; Literacy in the early years; Music; Financial literacy; Health education and personal and social capability; Civic participation; and Ethical understanding in a global world.


Overall, 60 specialist teachers will be engaged; the first 29 have been appointed, and a further 31 will be appointed later this year. These teachers will have a continuing 0.5 EFT teaching/school administration load at their existing school, and 0.5 EFT role in statewide support for one of the 10 specialist areas. They will undertake the role for an 18-month period.


Each of the 17 Areas within the new DET Regional structure will also have a dedicated curriculum officer who will work with the VCAA and the specialist teachers. 


Major Differences between the new Victorian Curriculum and AusVELS

  • References  to phonics and phonemic awareness strengthened in the English curriculum.
  • The Digital Technologies F-10 curriculum includes new learning including computational thinking, developing and evaluating digital solutions and data collection, representation and interpretation.
  • Learning about coding is included in both the Digital Technologies and Mathematics curriculum.
  • References to respectful relationships and safety in the home have been strengthened and made more explicit.
  • For the first time the curriculum includes Learning about World Views and Religions. While the AusVELS curriculum makes numerous references to the issues in this area, it does not specify what students should learn about world views and religions. Such content has now been developed, in consultation with key religious and secular stakeholders.

[From VCAA, Victorian Curriculum F-10: Familiarisation, presentation Jan 2016]



The students in 10 per cent of all Victorian schools will be part of a pilot program to do their NAPLAN testing online in 2017.


Pilot schools will be expected to utilise the online test format for all year levels and will also be required to participate in a trial of the online system, school readiness and test administration in August 2016. 


Pilot schools may also be required to participate in an additional research study or item trial to support development of the online tests in August-September 2016.


Schools are invited to express interest in participating in the pilot via the NAPLAN Test Administration Website. Expressions of interest must be submitted by 21 March 2016.


If the pilot program works, it is intended that all Victorian schools will do NAPLAN online in 2018.


The Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is examining whether the use of "devices" will have any effect on student performance compared to pen-and-paper tests. It is also looking at whether the type of device (eg laptop, tablet, smartphone) will have any effect. 

NAPLAN Conflict of Interest ( I have posted about this before)


Pearson, the largest education corporation in the world, has come under sustained criticism after its major role in NAPLAN testing has been revealed.


Pearson has been accused of a conflict of interest as it provides the resources and services to assist NAPLAN preparation by schools and parents and is also responsible for developing the tests and analysing and reporting the results on My School through a contract with ACARA.


In Victoria ,Pearson has a contract with the VCAA worth $7,241,268 to provide a range of NAPLAN services. It supervises the marking of the test and is responsible for recruiting, training and paying NAPLAN test markers. It has a similar contract in New South Wales worth $41.6 million.


The company sells texts that have material on NAPLAN preparation, as well as offering tips on NAPLAN preparation on its website. It also advertises school consulting services which include "using data effectively to improve student outcomes".


Pearson Australia's spokesman David Barnett claimed that the company was not involved in any conflict of interest as "they are totally separate parts of the business."


University of Queensland professor Bob Lingard contends that the Pearson contracts potentially amount to state-sponsored market research. "The support by the state of these functions gives companies the business intelligence to dominate the market," he said. 


In an article in the latest edition of Professional Voice researcher Anna Hogan argues that the increased role of for-profit private providers is moving control of parts of education out of its rightful place in the public domain.


The tender process for services related to NAPLAN from 2016-18 has closed and the successful bidder is yet to be announced. 


Pearson has also bid for a contract administering new literacy and numeracy tests for aspiring teachers.

To find out more about Pearson then Google 'Pearson test controversy USA'

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